It is marathon week in New York City. The banners are hung. The race route scouted out. The city of New York is ready to welcome thousands of international runners and spectators. I will be working the medical tent at mile 24, so if you are around please come say hello! Having run the marathon in the past I have 5 tips for a successful and healthy marathon.
1. Avoid NSAIDS (like ibuprofen) which can precipitate electrolyte imbalances during high endurance athletic events.
2. Drink no more than 1 cup of a sodium containing sports drink every 20 minutes to avoid hyer-hydration and hyponatremia (low sodium) see attached post: http://hospitalstyle.blogspot.com/2010/10/hyponatremia-in-athletes.html
3. Pace yourself the first 13 miles (run slower than you feel you can, the good race depends on the second half). There are often pace bands that you can keep on your wrist and check each mile marker.
4. Increase salt intake 3 days prior to race (unless you have high blood pressure). Bring a packet of salt to take around mile 20 to prevent muscle cramping. You can pick this up at any local fast food establishment, or deli around the city.
5. Keep warm before the race. There is an area to throw off your extra layers at the start and they then donate these items to charity. Stay warm. Help others.
On marathon Sunday in NYC the best parts of the city are on display. It's sense of community. It's energy. It's inherent value of achievement. It's beauty. Run hard. Run fast. I will be there cheering you on!